welcome to "newsline." it's wednesday, august 13. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. consumers have been holding on to their money. their penny pinching held back the economy. government officials are reporting negative growth. it's the sharpest decline since the first quarter of 2011 when the earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern japan. the officials have compiled the numbers for the april to june period. it translate to an annualized
growth rate to minus 6.8%. consumers rushed into things they wanted before abe raised the consumption tax from 5% to 8%. ever since, they've been more careful with their money. store managers across japan are wondering when their customers will come back. some worry that could take a while. more from nhk world's reporter. >> reporter: consumers have become more frugal in recent months. they're forking out less on everything, big and small. shoppers across japan are keeping a tight grip on their wallets. they're spending less on all kinds of things, even their pets. managers at one pet food business say their sales slumped. they say between april and june, they sold 15% less than in the same period last year. the managers say many of the customers bought supplies in
bulk before the tax went up. and they blame a 20% increase in the cost of raw materials for making things worse. they had no choice but to lift their prices and that's turned many pet owners away. >> translator: i tried to find cheaper items and stock up. >> translator: the impact of the tax hike has continued for much longer than we expected. we're hoping sales will start to recover in late autumn. >> reporter: consumers are also holding off on bigger purchases. many have given up on their dreams of owning a house. builders say that's put a dent in their business. they say for four months straight, they've had less work than last year. they also blame a shortage of workers for forcing up their production costs.
>> translator: i want a new house but it's expensive i'm also thifg buying a preowned apartment. >> reporter: managers at some firms are trying a different tact to lift their sales. they're promoting homes within the rates. they say people have a better chance of affording a house if they can share the cost with their parents. >> translator: we think we'll be still struggling for a while longer this year. we hope we can draw up plans for our customers to make houses easier to buy. >> reporter: one expert says the hangover from the tax hike could be harder to shake off than he had expected. >> translator: consumer purchasing power has weakened. so the pace of recovery could be slow. stocks of cars and machinery are piling up. so manufacturers might reduce their production and that could
lead to a vicious cycle for the entire economy. >> reporter: prime minister abe is expected to decide by the end of the year whether he will raise the tax in 2015 to 10%. but before then, he'll need to prove the initial increase worked and give consumers the confidence to start spending again. nhk world. del gan gats are negotiating a three day cease-fire in hamas. but it runs out in 24 hours. they are talking. representatives of hamas want the economic blockade of gaza to be lifted. several media outlets say they agreed to ease the flow of people and supplies and to expand a fishing area off the
coast. the israelis are demanding the demilitarization of gaza but they're having trouble reaching an agreement. residents of gaza are trying to get back to their routines after a month of fighting. but many lost their homes in israeli air strikes. and they crowded into shelters. they are so close that infectious diseases could spread. >> the man expected to be the next prime minister of iraq is winning support home and abroad. he is takinging his first steps to forming a government. the man he would replace is trying to hold on. abadi served as the deputy speaker of parliament. he's been named to take over as prime minister. he's the man who being prime minister for the last eight years. nuri al-maliki. he has favored shias and they say that's driven sunnis to launch an insurgency and take
over parts of northern iraq. now many sunnis are backing abadi. the president has expressed his support and leaders in neighboring iran, turkey, and saudi arabia have also welcomed abadi's appointment. maliki is refusing to step aside. he met with senior military and security officials. he instructed them not to interfere in the political crisis. iraqis are seeing more of what they've seen throughout months of fighting between shias and sunnis. a series of bombs exploded in shia neighborhoods in baghdad. security officials believe islamist extremists staged the attacks. thousands of iraqis have been forced to flee from the sunni insurgents. they're angry about the political uncertainty. >> translator: we want our government to make us a united country and give us back our peaceful life. >> in june the militants seized the second largest city forcing
residents out b 1,000 people have taken shelter in the suburbs of erbil. many have been suffering in soaring temperatures. they are organizing over who owns a oil field and welcomed abadi's nomination. they have called for the protection af religious minority. the yazidis have taken refuge i. >> u.n. personnel are in the area doing all what we can. airdrops of food and water are reaching some of the trapped people. but the situation on the mountain is dire. >> u.s. forces have carried out air strikes for a fifth day. they used drones against militants in the town of sinjar. insurgents were attacking kurdish fighters escorting
yazidis to safety. officials with the world health organization has made a decision on using experimental drugs to contain the ebola outbreak. they said it would be ethical to use the medicine for treatment and prevention under certain conditions. >> there was unanimous agreement among the experts that the special circumstances of this ebola outbreak, it is ethical to offer unregistered interventions as potential treatments or prevention. w.h.o. experts say conditions that must be met include informed consent, confidentiality and respect for the person. medical staff would need to explain the possible risks of the drugs. the use would also have to be supported by applicable governments. w.h.o. officials say there is a need to collect and share all relevant data including treatments using unapproved medicines outside of clinical trials. officials say it would be
necessary to establish norms to determine which patients should be given priority. international researchers suspect the current outbreak may have started with a child who died in december. they trace the spread of infection by analyzing blood samples and tracking hospital records. they say the 2-year-old child who died in a village near guinea's border may be patient zero in the outbreak. the boy's family members were later confirmed infected. the virus then spread to medical workers in the same area. a russian aid convoy is heading to eastern ukraine. the ukrainian government and western nations are warning the aid could be a pretext for intervention. japanese officials say they have been aware of media reports in russia concerning the drills. they say they will demand for details and will protest if drills are conducted on the four islands.
it left moscow early on tuesday. they say it will take several days for the convoy to travel to ukraine. the russian presidential office said the government obtained ukraine's consent. it also said russia is sending the convoy in collaboration with the international committee of the red cross or icrc. an icrc spokesperson said the organization was briefed on the movement. but they added they have not received detailed information. they do not know where the aid will be distributed. ukraine rejected the aid from russia. calling it an excuse for an invasion. >> let me be clear, you don't need tanks and artillery to bring food and medicine for civilians. there will be no need for any humanitarian aid. >> ukrainian government forces are stepping up aiming to retake
control of donetsk. local residents are reportedly facing shortages of food and other supplies. the spokesperson said drills are the largest in several years. the crews of five attack helicopters and 100 military vehicles are honing their skills in what the russians call the caril islands. area includes four islands claimed by japan. japanese call them the northern territories. foreign ministry officials in tokyo say they've been aware of media reports about the exercises and they say last week they asked russian officials to provide details. they say they will demand for details and will protest if drills are conducted on the four islands. the japanese government maintains the russian-controlled islands are a part of japanese
territory and says the islands were illegally occupied after world war ii. three chinese coast guard vessels were spotted in japan's territorial waters in the east china sea. government officials met with lol town mayors. senior vice defense minister visited an island. chinese government ships violated japanese waters around the islands on 19 days this year. the islands are controlled by japan. china and taiwan claim them. the head of the foreign ministries ocean affairs bureau launched a complaint with a chinese official. he says the intrusion is extremely regrettable. plans are in the works for japanese ground self-defense force units to be on a southwestern island. this would allow for emergencies
in the east china sea. they met with local town mayors. senior 'defense minister visit at the island in her row she may prefecture and he saw where the troops will be stationed. they are planning to deploy 350 person nell to the city and 200 others in if neighboring towns. the local mayor says they welcome the plan and said it's important for the lives of the residents. the senior vice minister said the government needs to fill a gap in the ground self-defense forces geographical coverage and added that he want to the swiftly put the unit into operation. the nuclear descent three years ago caused residents to resettle elsewhere.
officials have designated the land around the crippled plant as no entry zones or areas where people can make short visits. there's no prospect of people being able to return to their homes any time soon. the residents of these evacuation zones can claim tax deductions if they buy a house or land in other places. nhk found that about 1400 applicants were given tax breaks during the fiscal year that ended in march. more than double the figure for the previous year. many evacuees are now weighing their options and they're wrestling with tough decisions. we have this report. >> reporter: sh woman evacuated from a town ten kilometers from fun sheem fukushima daiichi. he lives east of tokyo. he used to be a part time
farmer. he lived in a house surrounded by rice and vegetable fields. >> translator: i know i can never return but i feel attached to the place because i lived there for decades. >> reporter: he gave up hope of returning. he decided to set until a new cities 150 kilometers from his hometown. he bought an old house last year. he made the decision for his grandchildren. his four grandchildren live outside fukushima as evacuees. they don't know anything about it. he says he wanted to give them a new hometown. he worries if he can fit in with his new neighbors. but he's determined to build ties in the community.
>> translator: i've convinced myself that a new chapter of my life starts here. >> reporter: but some people are not as fortunate as he is. they have no option but to continue living in their temporary housing. this woman also evacuated from the area. her husband passed away after the disaster. she takes care of her mother and father who live in the same housing complex. they're in their 80s and have heart problems. she takes her parents to their home once a week and helps them to clean out the house. but their place is in a restricted area. residents are allowed to visit but they can't live there.
>> translator: my most desire is that we live in peace in this house when the decontamination is completed. i will feel sorry for our ancestors if we abandon their home. >> her son decided to settle in the town he vak waited to after the disaster. he wants his mother to live with him. but she feels she should respect her parents' strong wish to return to their hometown. >> translator: i want to live with my son and his children. but i can't abandon my parents. >> reporter: evacuees have to make tough choices because of the power plant disaster. they can make a fresh start somewhere else or wait until the situation improves.
but their lives will be difficult whatever they decide to do. radioactive leaks threatening the environment. people are struggling to control the plant. how will they stop the leaks? and decommission the facilities? get the latest on the aftermath of the nuclear accident with indepth reports and special features. "nuclear watch" only on "newsline." producers of classical japanese theet rer worried about the future of the craft. they say the number of young people interested in drama is much lower than before. they're teaching children the basics of the performance in hopes it will lure them to the stage.
>> reporter: these children are trying to learn the spirit of ka buky. they took park in a workshop this april. about 50 children attend three times a month to learn the basics. many japanese believe that to back a kabuki actor you have to be born into a kabuki performer's family. many stars have appeared out of the blue with no kabuki dna. this was the featured teacher. he is extremely popular on both stage and tv. he is not from a kabuki family. he encouraged the young people to step into the world of the stage just as he himself did. he demonstrated to the children a form called mie. a set of poses an actor uses to make himself appear bigger on stage. he told the children they must constantly repeat the lines and
dance steps until they learn them by heart. but the most important thing is to enjoy performing. >> translator: i was so happy that he taught me. i think i performed well. >> translator: i want to be a cool actor. >> reporter: the organizers of the event say fewer and fewer children are coming to the theater and even fewer want to be kabuki actors. they hope to find a new star among the young participants and also cultivate a new fan that love the art. nhk world. the people in charge of the fukushima daiichi plant have decided to scrap a
decontamination system. they haven't been able to use it for nearly three years. officials at french nuclear energy firm designed a system to treat the water. workers used it for three months and treated 76,000 tons of water, but they found it broke down too often. tepco officials say the equipment poses a risk to the workers. they say after processing all that water, it's become too radioactive. the hot summer weather continues across japan, but the city has another kind of heat wave. it's one of the biggest summer dance festivals in japan. thousands of people gathered in the city on tuesday. participants danced to the beat of traditional music. male dancers moved wildly while the women stepped elegantly. >> translator: this is so spectacular.
>> the four-day festival is expected to attract more than 1.2 million people. and that's all for now on it's time now for a check of the weather. people in the u.s. midwest are having trouble getting around. roads and freeways have sustained heavy damage due to severe flooding. meteorologist robert speta has the details. >> yes, katherine. we have been seeing out here is that severe flooding. definitely. especially across detroit, michigan, where you saw record breaking rainfall out here because of the storm system that blew through on monday into tuesday. take a look at the stats in the past 24 hours, you will be seeing the rain. but specifically on august 11th, detroit saw 116 millimeters of rainfall. that shatters the previous
record for that day which was 52 millimeters set in 1964. the second highest rainfall on a single day for this city since records began actually last time you have to go back to 1925 where a storm system came through and caused two deaths and millions of dollars in damage. this one is definitely rivalling that situation. coming out of this detroit where you had that severe flooding. all the vehicles being inundated out here. people trying to drive through the flood waertz. definitely very serious situation. interstate 75 was also closed out here. authorities advising people not to travel as well. just a submerged in this rainfall. take a look at this truck trying to drive under an overpass. this is the type of situation you really want to try to avoid if you are traveling out here. stay off the road if possible until the waters do start to recede. definitely one thing you want to remember, if you see a flooded
roadway, try not to drive through it. we're still seeing heavy rainfall back towards baltimore record breaking rainfall for you 24 hour period was also reported here. our storm system going to push off there towards new england bringing the rains. but also the severe weather. we do have severe thunderstorm warnings still in effect for three locations out here including around the toronto and buffalo area. even extending to the east. they still expect that to curve as we look ahead. thunderstorms along the east. back towards the west and to the southwest. we haven't seen the heavy rainfall, flash flood watches in effect around the four corners region. a new system is rolling on into the pacific northwest. you could be seeing that threat of severe thunderstorms out there as well as we look ahead through wednesday. let's move over towards europe now. take a look at this swirl on the satellite imagery. believe it or not, this is actually the remnants of hurricane bertha from last week off the atlantic coastline. it's been bringing the gusty winds, heavy rainfall across much of this area. even back towards the east we had a cold front spawn off it. and that erupted several severe thunderstorms that produced
tornadoes as well. even to belgium, netherlands, over towards germany. several reports of tornadoes. the threat still here. it's not over yet. we have all that cool air tipping to spill in. these areas in the orange, that's where you're going to be seeing that threat of severe thunderstorms and the temperatures are cooling off behind it. actually, take a look at this. in paris, into the teens only here for you. but ahead of the front, into bucharest and athens, look at. that above average temperatures. actually pushing into the high 30s near 40 degrees for those of new greece. southeastern china and in towards southwestern china, you've been dealing with floods out here. there's been several reports of deaths in southwestern china because of the heavy rain which has been occurring. even towards hong kong, red level warnings were issued on tuesday evening as far as the rainfall. that threat is still going to be here. you take a look at your 72-hour forecast. showers continue to kick up with that monsoonal flow. ba
>> hello and welcome to "global 3000," your weekly check on the global issues that affect us all. and football is, of course, one of them, not just during the world cup. here's a look at some of the topics we'll take a look at over the next half hour. why providing health care helps protect nature in congo. how cricket nation pakistan is supplying the world with footballs. and, we visit europe's hydroelectric powerhouse, norway. >> the democratic republic of congo is a rich country on paper, but the oil wealth that could help build a prosperous nation has so far mainly fuelled conflict.